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Symone Black's fall overshadows strong Hollywood Week opener for 'American Idol'

Thousands of hopefuls showed up for the

Thousands of hopefuls showed up for the "American Idol" season 11 auditions at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. (July 2, 2011) Credit: Fox

Symone Black's sudden fall off the stage near the end of "American Idol's" first Hollywood Week show is all anyone is going to be talking about -- especially since Fox thought it was appropriate to end the show on that, forcing us to tune in next time to find out if the 16-year-old was okay after she hit her head.

This round's pre-taped, so anyone who wants to can Google and find out what happened -- one minute Black was bantering with the judges after a powerful performance, the next she fell off stage and the producers were calling for a medic -- but this fake cliffhanger seems like a rotten way for Fox to end what was actually a pretty strong show.

Along with Black, NYC's own Heejun Han and smooth-as-silk David Leathers led the way for me Wednesday night. Below is how I ranked the contestants who got reasonable air time; put in your own thoughts in the comments below, or on Twitter using #ndidol.

1) 16-year-old Symone Black's version of Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" gave me chills and had the judges just grinning at each other.

2) Deapan humorist Heejun Han from Flushing busted out with a heartfelt, awesome "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" that "brought tears" to Jennifer Lopez's eyes.

3) Charismatic if chatty 17-year-old David Leathers, who looks like he's 12, slayed on "Because You Loved Me;" his perfectly-pitched voice had the judges and audience applauding.

4) Waiter Johnny Keyser was simple and sweet on "Dreaming"; his tone and easy confidence has Lopez shouting "Johnny!" and Randy Jackson going "amen!"

5) Fidgety Jennifer Hirsch showed off an easy, natural voice on "Up to the Mountain" as her soaring chorus got Steven Tyler yelling, "don't stop!"

6) Jessica Phillips, whose boyfriend recently had a stroke, did a nice version of "All the Man That I Need" that got a "beautiful!" from Tyler.

7) Adam Brock's "Walking in Memphis" got the audience whooping and a "beautiful, baby" from Lopez.

8) Fan favorite Phillip Phillips wasn't great on "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," but he's highly likeable and may stick around for a while.

9) Lauren Gray's soulful "One and Only" was enough for her to advance, but nothing special for me.

10) Shannan MacGrane's "Fallen" was throaty and well-performed, but I barely remember it.

11) Reed Grimm 's "I Got a Golden Ticket" seemed hokey to me.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments below, or on Twitter using #ndidol.


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